Taking stock in his message on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October 2007) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the uneven progress being made towards the achievement by 2015 of the Millennium Development Goals.
While the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day has fallen since the adoption of the Goals in 2000 and the target of halving extreme poverty appears to be on track, the Secretary-General points to regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, which is not even within sight of achieving any of the eight Goals.
We at GALVmed echo the Secretary-General’s call for renewed global attention and resources for “the places and the people that are being left behind”.
Signatories with our partners to the Goal of halving extreme poverty, we are currently focusing much of our efforts in sub-Saharan Africa in a unique approach to poverty reduction.
Working with private and public sector partners and supported by the Department for International Development, our objective is to create sustainable solutions to poverty by protecting the health of the livestock on which some 600 million of the world’s poorest farmers depend for their survival.
Animals supply food, manure and traction to support crop production, create employment and provide business opportunities. Money raised through animal products pays for education and healthcare. Livestock serve important social and cultural roles, such as the provision of dowries. Yet every year, many poor farmers lose at least a quarter and in some cases half of their herds and flocks to preventable infectious diseases, many of which spread from animals to humans.
The effect on farmers and their families is devastating. Hardship, hunger and death follow each season. Poverty becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy not only for individuals but also for entire communities.
By fostering groundbreaking partnerships on a global scale between the animal health industry and other organisations, GALVmed is promoting the development of accessible and affordable animal vaccines and other animal health products for the poorest farmers in developing countries. In doing so we recognise, in the words of the Secretary-General, that “none are more committed to ending poverty than the poor themselves. Often, all they lack is the guidance, the tools, and the opportunities to win this fight”.
Ban Ki-moon appeals to people throughout the world to “stand up” against poverty and end the scourge once and for all. GALVmed is opening up another front in the fight – the protection of livestock not only to eradicate poverty but also to save human life.